Jacint Verdaguer

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Jacint Verdaguer i Santaló (Catalan pronunciation: [ʒəˈsin bəɾðəˈɣe]) (Folgueroles, May 17, 1845 - Vallvidrera, June 10, 1902) is regarded as one of the greatest poets of Catalan literature and a prominent literary figure of the Renaixença, a national revival movement of the late Romantic era. The bishop Josep Torras i Bages, one of the main figures of Catalan nationalism, called him the "Prince of Catalan poets". He was also known as mossèn Cinto Verdaguer, because of his career as a priest.



He was born in Folgueroles, a town on the Plain of Vic, in the comarca of Osona. His father was Josep Verdaguer i Ordeix (Tavèrnoles, 1817-Folgueroles, 1876) and his mother was Josepa Santaló i Planes (Folgueroles, 1819–1871). He was the third of eight children, only three of whom survived. In 1856 at the age of 11 he entered the Seminary of Vic. Until he entered the Seminary he lived like the other children in his town. The anecdotes told about him show that he stood out from his peers for his intelligence, astuteness and courage, helped by his athletic complexion. He showed a normally balanced compassion without any apparent religious inclinations.

In 1863, when he was 18, he started to work as a teacher for a family at Can Tona (where he also helped out on the farm), while he continuted to study. Can Tona is in the municipal district of Sant Martí de Riudeperes, today Calldetenes. In 1865, he participated in Barcelona's Jocs Florals - or "Floral Games" - poetry contest and won four prizes. The next year he won two prizes in the same Jocs Florals.

On September 24, 1870 he was ordained priest by the bishop Lluís Jordà in Vic, and in October that same year, he said his first Mass in Sant Jordi hermitage. The next day he said his second Mass in Sant Francesc hermitage near Vic. In 1871, his mother died on January 17 at the age of 52. On September 1 he was appointed bishop coadjutor of Vinyoles d'Orís and three days later he took possession.

In 1873 he published Passió de Nostre Senyor Jesucrist (Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ). He left Vinyoles d'Orís for health reasons and went to Vic. He went on a trip to Roussillon and saw the Canigou, maybe for the first time. In December, he joined the Companyia Transatlàntica as a chaplain because he was prescribed sea air for his health; he embarked in Cádiz bound for Havana.

In 1876, on September 8 his father died at the age of 65. On board the "Ciudad Condal", on the return voyage from Cuba, Jacint Verdaguer finished his epic poem L’Atlàntida. In November he entered the palace of the Marquis of Comillas as an alms chaplain.

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